49ers news: 2021 NFL free agency tracker with updates, analysis
By Peter Panacy
49ers sign Samson Ebukam, restructure Dee Ford
The Niners were facing a problem with their complementary pass-rushing spot opposite EDGE Nick Bosa.
Fellow EDGE Dee Ford, who missed all but one game with a back injury in 2020 and has no timetable for his return, was set to cost over $20 million (10.3 percent against the cap) in 2021, and an injury guarantee in his contract prevented San Francisco from simply making him an offseason cap casualty.
But as Ian Rapoport reported, the 49ers simply restructured Ford’s contract into a two-year deal worth $24 million:
Still, that alone didn’t solve Ford’s likely injury absence to start 2021, meaning the Niners would still have to bolster their pass-rushing depth to help Bosa out.
The move? Bring aboard former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Samson Ebukam on a two-year deal, as reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:
Ebukam, 25 years old, was a fourth-round pick by the Rams back in 2017 and hasn’t missed a game over his four-year career. And over the last two seasons combined, he’s registered nine sacks, 14.0 in total for his NFL tenure.
Pass-rushers, particularly the elite ones, can get overly expensive awfully quick, so it wasn’t like San Francisco would be able to lure in one of the many top-level names currently out there on the free-agent market.
Instead, Ebukam gets plucked away from a division rival, while the 49ers hope he can continue his development and turn into a quality pass-rusher whose stats only increase thanks to the presence of players like Bosa and fellow defensive end Arik Armstead.
Perhaps Ford is able to come back healthy, too. Wouldn’t that be nice?